Wicked Women Writers Challenge – Sumiko Saulson

On September 7th the recordings and written versions of the Wicked Women Writers Challenge were released via the host HorrorAddicts.net. This year’s challenge to the ladies was “How Will You Survive?” and the Norns gave each of the brave women who tossed their pens into the ring 4 things they had to incorporate into their tales: an apocalyptic disaster, a location, a helpful item and a disability.

If you’d like to listen to the podcast which contains all thirteen of the stories, you can find it here.

If you’s also like to read the stories, you can find them here.

I’m pleased to present short interviews with the Wicked Women during the voting period. First up is Sumiko Saulson who wrote ‘A Birthday Present’ for this year’s challenge!

sumikoManulFestWhat possessed you to sign up, knowing that your fate would be in the hands of the Norns?

I thought it sounded like fun. As an English major, I am quite used to writing with prompts, and some of my best writing has come from assignments that involved writing prompts. I enjoy the creative challenge that incorporating specific elements into a story involves. I thought it would spark my imagination and perhaps even lead me to write about things I would not ordinarily think of if I were coming up with all elements of the story on my own. I guess the bottom line is: I like a challenge, and I have a love of language that makes me particularly enjoy writing and word games. They make you think.

Out of the 4 criteria you were given, what did you think would be the hardest to work into your creation?

I was given a pool cue as my helpful item, but my locale was a bowling alley, so my initial reaction was to think I would have trouble integrating the pool cue into a bowling alley: I mean, people don’t usually play pool in bowling alleys. I decided to make it a Rock n Bowl, which is a bowling alley with a bar in it. I’ve been in Rock n Bowls before, although never one with a pool table: yet pool tables are frequent fixtures in bars, and some bowling alleys have bars, so it made sense to me. Besides, it was a fun idea. I could totally visualize it.

If you had to choose a Wicked Woman to vote for this year, who would you choose?

I haven’t had a chance to listen to all 13 stories yet, and I intend to: I intend to listen to them all and I do intend to vote for someone (other than myself, of course). I’m about halfway through reading the stories, and let me tell you I am impressed with and more than a little intimidated by the competition. I would have to say it’s anybody’s game this year, and I am really honored to be counted among such a talented group of women.

What would like listeners and readers to take away from your story?

The story really plays around a lot with body image; the central protagonist is an overweight, nearsighted, acne-plagued African American teen girl who finds herself suddenly forced to cope with the dangers inherent in this freaky showdown with demonic creatures crawling out of the Norn-fated sinkholes emerging throughout the ill-fated Rock n Bowl. The take-away should be that a girl doesn’t need to look like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any of your other traditional leading-lady types to take names, kick ass, and reach out and grab that coveted bubblegum pink bowling ball with the glitter in it.

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